Who should be put on trial?So the president and his apologists have their panties in a twist yet again. Yet again it's because a news media outlet revealed something that the administration didn't want the public to know about. The administration hates anyone daring to question it. It hates accountability even more.
The New York Times was the first of several media outlets to report that the administration is tracking money transfers linked to terrorism.
The president and his allies were apoplectic with rage. Rep. Peter King said the paper should be prosecuted for publishing the truth. Bush himself called it 'disgraceful.' Vice-President Cheney bemoaned the fact that the press is not subject to governmental control.
Former Treasury Secretary John Snow claims that the revelations 'undermined a highly successful counterterrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trail.'
Snow also resorted to emotional blackmail so typical in the war on civil liberties by saying, 'The New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public's right to know, in some cases, might overwrite somebody's right to live, and whether, in fact, the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.'
The president claims that he's kept Congress informed of this program, which he erroneously thinks makes it legal. Think of it this way: if you inform your neighbor that you're peeping on his wife when she's home alone, does that make it legal?
Last year, the Times also revealed the probably illegal warrantless spying program, which also infuriated the administration.
The administration insists that these programs are both legal and designed to make America safer.
Let's assume for a moment that these assertions are true.
If that's the case, then shouldn't Bush and company want to shout from the rooftops about what they're doing?
Wouldn't it be a major deterrent to Osama wannabes to let them know that they are being watched, that their finances are being tracked?
A potential terrorist might read the Times and think: "Hey, it's too risky to plan anything here. I ought to go somewhere else."
And this is bad how?
Isn't the first priority of crime fighting deterrence and prevention?
If these programs really are both legal and designed to make America safer, the administration should want to award the Times a presidential medal of freedom, not a treason trial.
Yet, the administration insists on hypersecrecy (as usual), unaccountability (as usual) and shooting the messenger (as usual).
Why are they so afraid that these programs, designed to deter terrorism, be revealed and thus increase the deterrence? Is it because they know deep down that their activities are completely illegal and unconstitutional and would be discredited as such if their actions were exposed to the light of day? If they weren't doing anything wrong, why are they so afraid of this being discovered? If they're not guilty, why are they acting that way?
They've already demonstrated their utter contempt for the rule of law so you'd think they wouldn't care about this. But they do.
And they're right to care. If I were doing what they're doing, I'd be petrified of the American justice system too.